I Got It! #30 Would You Like Shorter Meetings?

If so, cut yourself off. Too often we go on and on thinking the more information we give, the more the person will understand or want.

Did you know that most people stop listening or reading after about a minute unless the message is of great interest?

People tend to remember only about 10% of what you say, so when your message is short and simple your listeners will hear what you want them to remember.  If you give them too much, they have much to focus on.

Keep the following questions in mind as you plan your next conversation or presentation.

  • Is what you are saying memorable?
  • Is your message timely?
  • Does it have human impact?
  • Does it pass the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) test?

One of my clients, who worked in finance, had lost many of her clients over the past year. While some of this can certainly be blamed on our economy, when I asked her what her goals were for the one-on-one meetings, she couldn’t come up with a succinct answer.

Have you heard of killing someone with kindness? She was killing them with information.

As we explored her client meetings it became evident that she was so enthused about her profession that she wanted others to feel the same way.  Each one hour meeting stretched into two or three.

We established that her goal was to educate and retain her existing clients.

We came up with a FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet so she could focus her thoughts on what her clients’ interest. She practised her responses until the words matched her thoughts.

Then she went into each meeting with a “cheat sheet.” It consisted of three points she wanted to get across, some different ways to deliver the same message with short, real-life examples and a big sign on the bottom: CUT YOURSELF OFF.

Has it worked? Most days, she says, it has. Now, when she books a meeting she tells the client it will only last an hour. If she goes on longer, she promises them a $100 gift certificate to their favourite restaurant!